Want a Used Off-Roader You Can Daily-Drive? This Is It
Owning a vehicle for every occasion is a luxury very few of us get to enjoy. There’s no doubting the ideal situation is grabbing the keys to an old 911 to go canyon carving in the morning, switching to two-wheels to pop into town for lunch, then the four-door land yacht to head out for dinner at night, but that’s not the average day for most. C’est la vie.
For most of us, our cars are compromises — multiple vehicles in one, if you will. You can make that old Porsche your only car, but I wouldn’t suggest doing school runs, carpooling or the occasional offroad excursion. However, if you want a car that checks all of those boxes and is actually quite pleasant to live with on a daily basis, this modified 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser might be what you’re looking for.
What We Like: 234,461 miles can seem like a massive turn-off when it comes to any car, let alone one modified to go off-road, but this Land Cruiser does a decent job of putting any worries about that to rest. Looking at the service record, this high-miler was well-looked after with most, if not all, the common problems associated with Land Cruisers of this age are taken care of. The upgraded suspension, rally lights and cage roof rack only entice off-road adventures even more. This Toyota isn’t Concours-ready; however, that makes it all the easier on your conscience, if and when you do go off-road and you add a couple more scratches and dings yourself.
From the Seller: “A steel roof basket is fitted along with a rear-mounted access ladder. A JAOS light bar includes a pair of IPF Super Rally lights mounted to the OEM front bumper. A stock-height Old Man Emu suspension kit was installed by San Diego Trux in California and includes new shocks and coils.”
Watch Out For: In higher-mileage examples (at 234,461 miles this one definitely qualifies) the power steering pumps tend to leak. You may also see non-responsive power windows and mirrors due to a common electrical issue.
Original Review: “The Cruiser is a substantial vehicle but it’s not a monster, and will probably feel fairly modest in size, for all its mass. Ride comfort is good; it’s a great vehicle for a long highway drive, providing all-day comfort and a strong sense of security… Handling, within the context of size, height and weight, is sure, stable and precise, albeit ponderous. Off-road or on the slippery stuff, the Cruiser is simply awesome.” — New Car Test Drive
Alternatives: By 1997 the market here in the States was filled to the brim with trucks and SUVs. Unsurprisingly, the Ford Expedition was one of the most popular, but on the luxury front, the Land Rover Discovery was a direct foe. However, the Toyota came with a price tag of around $41,000 — $10,000 more than the Land Rover. To the Toyota’s credit, it was arguably the best off-road, while still maintaining the luxury factor.